Consideration of Magisterium Standing Orders

The matter before Conclave is to determine if the proposed ammendment to the Standing Orders of the Magisterium is consistent with Concordat with regard to its definition of a majority vote in Magisterium.

The rules governing this proceeding may be found in Concordat and in the of Conclave.

Order of the Proceeding

  1. Housekeeping. The Viceroy pursuant to the Standing Orders of the Conclave chooses to recuse himself from the procedure, which satisfies the Concordat’s requirement that there be an odd number of Arbiters. All Arbiters are advised that it is considered improper and prejudicial to comment on how you might vote on any matter before Conclave. All parties are advised that this thread is THE place to discuss the outcome of this matter: attempting to influence the outcome by any other means is considered disruptive to the proceeding.

  2. Motion to Dismiss. Arbiters are reminded that they may at any time raise a Motion to Dismiss and the state the reason for the Motion, at which time the proceeding shall be suspended for consideration of the Motion by ARBITERS ONLY.

  3. Defense to defeat the Resolution. The Provost, as the representative of Magisterium per Concordat, is invited to response to the Resolution. Provost may appoint one other citizen to assist in posting the initial defense, simply by naming them here. They may also post in the initial defense. Except for an Arbiter Motion to Dismiss, no other participant shall post until the Provost has posted the defense. If a defense is not posted within 72 hours of this post, defense shall be deemed waived and Conclave will proceed to debate by ARBITERS ONLY.

  4. Discussion. If a defense is posted, Viceroy will declare the floor of the Conclave open to ALL MAGISTERS for 48 hours and subsequently to ALL CITIZENS for an additional 48 hours. Arbiters may join the discussion, ask questions, or simply listen as they see fit during this four day period.

  5. Debate. At the end of discussion, this thread shall be limited to posts by ARBITERS ONLY for debate to last no longer than 72 hours. A Motion to end debate may be submitted and seconded at any time during debate and a majority of Arbiters voting AYE shall have ended debate.

  6. Vote. Once the Viceroy has called the vote, voting shall proceed for four days or until every Arbiter has voted, whichever comes first. Viceroy shall declare the outcome and this thread shall be locked.

  7. Obligatory Plea for Good Conduct. Please stay on topic: this is a matter of law. It is not personal. Anyone who posts ASCII, emoticons, personal attacks, or otherwise disrupts this proceeding may have their post deleted or moved to Admin for consideration of additional consequences. The subheading of this thread shall list in ALL CAPS the parties allowed to post at a given time.

The Standing Orders enacted by the Magisterium are:

— Begin quote from ____

(a) Election of the Provost -
(1) The Magisterium shall immediately elect a Provost whenever the position is vacant.
(2) The Magisters shall elect the Provost in a two part election, wherein forty-eight hours are allowed for nominations, and seventy-two hours allowed for voting upon a ballot that shall consist of any individual receiving a nomination.
(3) Any Magister may be elected Provost but no person shall be Provost that does not desire the position.

(b) Provost Pro Tempore -
(1) The Provost shall appoint a Provost Pro Tempore to assist the Provost.
(2) The Provost Pro Tempore shall temporarily assume the responsibilities of Provost at any time when the Provost requests it, at any time when the Provost is absent from the forums for a period exceeding seventy-two hours, or at any time when the position of Provost is vacant.
(3) The Provost may remove the Provost Pro Tempore at any time.

c) Removal -
(1) Whenever a Magister motions for the removal of the Provost and whenever another Magister seconds that motion, the Provost Pro Tempore shall officiate a seventy-two hour vote, and if a majority of those voting vote in favor of the motion, the Provost shall be removed.
(2) Whenever a Magister motions for the removal of the Provost Pro Tempore and whenever another Magister seconds that motion, the Provost shall officiate a seventy-two hour vote, and if a majority of those voting vote in favor of the motion, the Provost Pro Tempore shall be removed.

(d) Dean -
(1) The Provost shall determine, at the start of each session of the Magisterium, how many terms each Magister has served, and shall make a list of the Magisters, with the Magisters listed according to number of terms served.
(2) The Magister that is highest on that list shall be the Dean of the Magisterium, except if that Magister has been absent from the forums for a period exceeding seventy-two hours, in which case the highest Magister on the list that has been present on the forums in the last seventy-two hours shall be Dean.
(3) Whenever the Provost and Provost Pro Tempore are both inactive for a period exceeding seventy-two hours, or whenever there is no Provost or Provost Pro Tempore, the Dean shall temporarily assume the office of Provost.

(a) Any Magister may propose a bill, resolution, or amendment to the Concordat, and that bill, resolution, or amendment to the Concordat shall be debated immediately following its proposal.

(b) The Delegate may at any time nominate an executive or judicial official and the Magisterium shall debate that nomination like regular legislation.

c) The Magisterium shall debate any legislation until a Magister motions to vote on the legislation and another Magister seconds that motion.

(d) A Magister may motion to amend any legislation at any time during debate and if that motion receives a second, the Magisterium shall vote on the motion for forty-eight hours, and if the motion receives majority support, the legislation shall stand amended as motioned, except if the author(s) of the legislation accept the amendment upon its proposal, in which case the legislation shall be amended as motioned without a vote.

(e) The Magisterium shall vote on any legislation for a period of time that shall exceed seventy-two hours but not exceed ninety-six hours and that legislation shall pass if a majority of those voting vote in favor of the legislation.

(f) Subsection (d) notwithstanding, the Magisterium shall pass a proposed amendment to the Concordat only if two-thirds of those voting vote in favor of the amendment, and the Provost shall submit any proposed amendment to the Conclave immediately following its passage by the Magisterium.

(g) The Provost shall submit to the Delegate, within twenty-four hours of its passage, any legislation that passes the Magisterium, and the Delegate shall have ten days after that submission to consider that legislation, and if the Delegate does not veto that legislation or signals his or her support for that legislation during that period, the legislation shall be enacted into law, but if the Delegate does veto that legislation, then the Provost shall officiate a seventy-two hour vote to overturn the veto, and if three-fourths of those Magisters voting vote in favor of overturning the veto, the legislation shall become law.

(h) Subsection (f) notwithstanding, the assent of the Delegate shall not be required if the legislation is a proposed amendment to the Concordat, or if the legislation is a nomination, or if the legislation is a resolution that only expresses the opinion of the Magisterium.


(a) The Provost shall hold a roll call at any time when the Provost suspects that any number of Magisters are inactive, and if any Magister does not sign in during a period to exceed seventy-two hours but not to exceed ninety-six hours, the Provost shall investigate the activity of that Magister.

(b) Whenever a Magister motions for the removal of a Magister and whenever another Magister seconds that motion, the Provost shall officiate a seventy-two hour vote, and if two-thirds of the Magisterium votes in favor of the motion, the Magister shall be removed from office.


s Whenever a Magister motions for unanimous consent on either a motion or legislation, the Provost shall allow forty-eight hours for objections, and if no Magister objects during that time, the motion or legislation shall pass with the full support of the Magisterium.[/s]

(b) Whenever a Magister motions for the suspension of the rules and whenever another Magister seconds that motion, the Provost shall officiate a forty-eight hour vote, and if a majority of those voting vote in favor of the motion, the rules shall be suspended in the manner stated in the motion.

c) Whenever a Magister motions for a matter to be debated in closed session and whenever another Magister seconds that motion, the Provost shall officiate a forty-eight hour vote, and if a majority of those voting vote in favor of the motion, the Magisterium shall consider that matter in closed session.


Whenever a Magister motions to amend the rules and whenever another Magister seconds that motion, the Provost shall officiate a seventy-two hour vote, and if a majority of those voting vote in favor of the motion, the rules shall be amended in the manner stated in the motion.

— End quote


— Begin quote from ____

WHEREAS, the Conclave made a ruling requiring a majority of Magisters, not of Magisters Voting, to vote in favor on an Act for it to pass,

WHEREAS, The Conclave previously ruled that an ‘Abstain’ vote shall not become an ‘Against’ vote, and

WHEREAS, if the first ruling stands an ‘Abstain’ vote acts as an ‘Against’ vote,

WHEREAS, regrettably Magisters can go inactive which can disable the Magisterium due to inactivity until a new election takes place, and

WHEREAS, the ruling in question still applies to a vote to remove a Magister for inactivity, and

WHEREAS, that would make it difficult for the Magisterium to remove a Magister for inactivity when necessary,

WHEREAS, in the Concordat the word ‘vote’ describes the amount of Magisters required to favor a motion or bill and that the amount does not refer to the Magisterium itself,


CALLS UPON, the Provost to represent the Magisterium before the Conclave on this issue and to select any one Magister or Citizen to assist them at their discretion,

ENCOURAGES, all Magisters to show support for the Magisterium’s case during the period of time in which Magisters may give feedback and again in the time which Citizens may give feedback,

RESOLVES, that the Magisterium does not support the Conclave ruling in question and would like it repealed.

— End quote

In the spirit of trying to be cooperative and bring this to a satisfactory resolution, I stick my nose in and ask the Provost to please consider the following and respond as you see fit.

Repealing the Conclave’s “majority means majority” ruling would allow abuses of power including but not limited to:[ul]
[li]setting insanely short voting periods during which a subset of Magisters or even a single Magister within an elected group could rig the results of a vote - passing or striking a law by minority vote
[li]a Provost electing him or herself on their own vote (which isn’t theoretical - it happened)
[li]removal of other government officials without the super-majority that Concordat requires due to the seriousness of the act
[li]a “midnight massacre” where one or two Magisters know the rest are off line and vote all the other Magisters off the island en masse
[/li][/ul]That being said, I get the point that majority meaning “all elected Magisters” can hobble the Magisterium from removing an inactive Magister. That’s theoretical AFAIK as I have never seen any evidence of an attempt by Magisterium to remove an inactive Magister, before or after Conclave’s ruling.

What I don’t get is that it’s hard to pass a motion. There’s no reference to motions or resolutions or procedural decisions or Standing Orders in Concordat. If a previous Magisterium wrote a Standing Order demanding a majority for a motion or procedural decision, just change it. Standing Orders are NOT law. Who voted for or against ending debate, extending debate, calling for the vote, yadda, yadda - is not part of Magisterium’s official voting record - it’s just how you decided as a group to run things.

As I understand it, Conclave rejected unanimous consent and demanded a majority of those elected to do the BIG things: pass and revoke laws, remove and appoint officials, override Delegate veto - that stuff.

The original ruling was:

Would the following suggested interpretation of Conclave’s ruling - yet to be voted on by Conclave - satisfy the Magisterium?


For the purposes of determining a majority or super-majority in the Magisterium, “the voting record of Magisterium” excludes from the definition of majority any individual Magister under formal consideration of removal for any reason provided by Concordat.

In other words, you can exclude from majority one Magister at a time to formerly consider whether or not to remove them. When it comes to motions, resolutions, and procedural stuff not enumerated in Concordat as a Magisterium power - write whatever rules you think are fair and democratic. When it comes to the powers enumerated to legislate and balance power in government, the majority of elected Magisters ruling stands.

I guess that’s alright, and to be honest you do make a good point. Um…I can post here right? I’m still new to being the Provost and all.

I’m going to have Kelssek argue in my place as he has much more experience in these kinds of things than I do.

My thanks to the Conclave for granting this hearing and to the Provost for calling on me to speak.

My chief concern in being against that ruling is on the principle and the precedent set by it. I have absolutely no problem, in fact, with the ruling against the use of unanimous consent to pass legislation. I don’t think anyone can disagree with that, and whatever the result of this proceeding we shouldn’t be using unanimous consent for that purpose. However, it is not the Conclave’s business to tell the Magisterium that.

The Conclave has the authority to interpret the law and nullify any they find contrary to the Concordat. The internal procedures of the Magisterium, which is what the standing orders are, do not fall under the Concordat’s authority because they are not laws. The Conclave has standing orders of its own – did the Magisterium pass them? Of course not, and the Magisterium would certainly have no role in determining the internal rules of the Conclave. The Conclave simply did not have the authority to make the ruling it made.

I will admit that I am biased towards seeing things in a real-world lens which may mean I see problems where others do not. If the regional government is modelled on the setup of the United States, what we have here is the judiciary changing the internal rules of Congress. Passing laws is the legislature’s business; the judiciary may advise - “hey, this thing you’re working on, section 3 and 4 are unconstitutional” for example - but should not interfere in that process. Dictating to the Magisterium its voting process was interference. The Conclave overstepped its bounds in that ruling, and one could even say abused its power. The present Conclave has an opportunity to correct that error.

The Magisterium has an opportunity to correct its errors too. And I will not deny that there were problems, and that our practical realities are – thankfully! - rather different from those faced by the branches of the United States government. As a solution to the problem, I will personally propose a quoroum rule which will require a percentage of Magisters to have voted for the decision on any motion to be valid.

Another issue is the definition of what a majority is. The Concordat states that “a majority vote” is required to pass legislation, a “2/3 vote” to override a veto, etc. An absolute majority and a majority vote are not the same thing. While it is of course the Conclave’s prerogative to interpret the Concordat, this was akin to interpreting “blue” to be “green”. I feel quite confident in asserting that this is quite different from what we normally consider a “majority vote” to mean because abstentions and simply not showing up are completely commonplace things in real legislatures and real elections. The most relevant example, since it is often stated that we based the Concordat on the American government set-up, is the U.S. House of Representatives, and absolute majority is not the practice there – a majority of those voting is sufficient as long as the quorum (218 out of 435) is present. In a very extreme example, a law could pass with 218 members present, 217 abstentions, and 1 vote in favour. You cannot interpret absence or the decision not to vote as a vote against, which is what absolute majority implies.

This isn’t so much about the practical issue of inactive Magisters paralysing all legislative business but the strange redefinition of “majority vote” that the Conclave has imposed. This effectively denies abstaining as a valid choice, by making an abstention, de facto, a vote against when the act of abstaining implies an unwillingness to vote either way. In elections, in parliaments, in city councils, in D&D club general meetings, if you don’t vote, or abstain, you don’t count. That’s how things are actually done. And Barb might dismiss the concern about removing a Magister as “theoretical”, but I can’t understand why – it might not have been tried before, but it is a very practical and real obstacle to successfully doing so.

This has been a very lengthy statement and I apologise for that. But let me sum it up in two main points: the Conclave didn’t have the authority to make that ruling, and the Concordat says “majority” which does not mean the same thing as “absolute majority” - and neither is there any grounds to interpret it that way. Furthremore and finally, there is a far more reasonable solution: the Magisterium should introduce a quorum requirement for any vote to be effective.

Thank you for your time and I do invite questions and comment.

Defense has been presented. Thanks Kelssek and Provost.

For the next 48 hours the floor is open to discussion by Arbiters and Magisters only.

Ahem… While in the resolution proposed by the Magisterium it calls for “of those voting” to be re-instated and free reign be given I think we can reach some sort of compromise. For example, instead a quorum of 1/2 of the Magisterium could be required to hold a vote. In that case over 1/2 of the Magisterium actually votes but if 2/3 of that 1/2 support it the Bill is still passed.

Both Barb and Kelssek brought valid points… Therefore the best course might be a middle ground such as is wa sugested. 2 quorums, 1 for having a vote and another to pass a decision. Might even be 1/2 and 2/3.

I have no objection to Magisterium using a coin flip or random number generator to determine procedural votes not enumerated as powers in Conclave. I didn’t even contemplate procedural votes (no one did in the discussion, either AFAIK) in the original ruling of Conclave because, as Kel put it - that’s Magisterium’s business.

I did not contemplate a quorum because the only definition of quorum contemplated in the original Standing Orders was “of those voting.” I can contemplate a construction of quorum that would be considered majority but - as Kel said - it is not for Conclave to write Magisterium’s Standing Orders.

There is no minimum number of Magisters. If there are 3, one of them should not be able to pass or revoke a law, approve an appointment, or remove a government official - just because the other two are unavoidably off line for a couple of days. A quorum rule should probably address that.

In establishing a quorum, a roll call IRL establishes the presence of those voting. One can literally see and hear them. On the Internet, one can lurk without logging in. You can literally be present and refuse to let your presence be known. Which gives someone “political cover” for not agreeing to an act they in fact enabled by sitting in silence. If you sit in silence, that means something as an elected official. It ought to be noted in future elections when one voted and when one was silent.

I did not mean to say, and apologize if I was unclear, that Magister removal was entirely theoretical. My only point was that it wasn’t tried even once prior to the majority ruling and it hasn’t been tried since. The ruling has had no practical bearing on what Magisterium does with inactive Magisters. I agree it could, which is why I made the above proposal.

How 'bout dis thing:

  1. Conclave excludes all procedural votes by Magisterium from its ruling; and
  2. Conclave invites Magisterium to write a new quorum rule that satisfies the democratic interest of majority and super majority when exercising its powers enumerated in Concordat. If a satisfactory definition of “elected Magisters” is provided, we done.

That’s not semantic. Obviously you have to exclude a Magister under consideration of removal from voting. Conclave itself has to exclude the even number Arbiter and we also exclude someone who formally says they can’t vote because they have a conflict of interest. Conclave can’t, I suspect, enforce a notion of majority more severe than our own.

I think the approach needed is two-pronged, but with a bit of a different from what Barb proposes.

The quorum should be something like 2/3 of Magisters to have been “present”, and you’re present if you vote for, against, or also explicitly abstain, but not if you haven’t even posted anything. If the vote is on removing/suspending someone for inactivity, they don’t count against this.

Procedural votes were always excluded, but there was a bit of an uncertainty because not everyone is familiar with parliamentary procedure or rules of order - and I freely admit I’m no Speaker of the House myself.

The Conclave also needs to explicitly rescind the “of those voting is wrong” part of the ruling being questioned here. A majority of those voting, that satisfies the quorum, should be sufficient to pass legislation even if it isn’t an absolute majority.

Purely for example, if a Magisterium of 10 members votes 5 in favour, 1 against, and 4 abstain, that should be sufficient to pass a bill.

Some context here:

Conclave was presented with unanimous consent AND majority meaning “of those voting” - which no longer represented the internal affairs of Magisterium, it represented an assault on democratic legislative process because in combination those two rules changed the common sense meaning of majority.

Conclave didn’t write the rules struck down. In my opinion it is not Conclave’s role to write rules for anybody but ourselves. It is the duty of Conclave to interpret Concordat. I’m not playing gotcha - it’s just up to Magisterium to legislate. Legislate according to Concordat, by majority.

The crossed out lines in Magisterium’s Orders of Proceeding are a little snarky, don’t you think? Are there any other laws or rules in the region that still contain the original language with a strikethrough?

I suggest Magisterium work out what it means by majority. You have Conclave’s definition - and a compromise proposed to limit it, subject to approval. If you want contours to an additional compromise, might I gently suggest that those take the form of new rules (SOM) for Conclave to rule upon.

Or in the case of rules that are not in conflict with Concordat, see no reason to rule upon at all. Conclave can be silent for months. I’m down with that.

I’m also down with the idea that this judicial v. legislative smackdown might have been avoided entirely if either side had consulted the other before acting.

For the next 48 hours the floor is open to discussion by all Citizens for comment and discussion, then Conclave shall debate.

I struggle to see how the normal vanilla simple majority vote is an “assault on democratic legislative process”. That’s essentially saying almost all real-world legislatures are assualting democracy, which is clearly ridiculous. If any democratic legislature requires absolute majority to pass a vote, it’s a rare case, and I can’t think of one.

The strike-throughs were not my idea, and in fact, this whole thing came up out of my proposal of a housekeeping amendment to the standing orders which would have removed the need for the strike-throughs.

How can you compromise on the meaning of “majority”? It’s a “majority” or it isn’t, and the ruling in question selected a specific and non-common-sensical meaning of majority. Furthermore, the decision gives every appearance of having already decided the desired outcome and then seeking reasons to fit it. “Majority of those voting” was never against the Concordat. That’s exactly what a majority vote is, and arbitrarily redefining it to mean “absolute majority”, against common legislative practice, was not the right decision.

I don’t deny that we had issues in the past. But they didn’t warrant such a substantial encroachment of the Conclave’s authority into the legislative process. I ask the Conclave to wipe the slate clean so we can formulate solutions to those issues, unencumbered by previous rulings. Everyone agrees unanimous consent doesn’t work for passing laws: fine. But majority vote needs to mean “majority vote” again. Abstentions need to mean a refusal to vote either way, rather than a de-facto “no”. We need a quorum: I think at least 2/3 of Magisters must voice something in the vote for it to have any effect, that’s an arbitrary number up for negotiation but a quorum is needed. But first we have to rescind that ruling first, because not only is it errorneous, it is blocking such reform which, in my opinion, would satisfy the concerns and provide for a healthier governing system overalll.

My trusted comrade Kel,

If encroachment is the interpretation of Concordat, Conclave encroached. Please don’t make this a stand off. I grew up in California IRL and it used to be Mexico, most of it. Stand offs end badly. Everybody loses.

Of those voting + unanimous consent was a package. It got rejected. You rejected unanimous consent. Let’s start there. But there is no “everyone agrees” regarding unanimous consent because that was the rule adopted by Magisterium. Even by Conclave’s draconian definition of majority.

OK it was me that said no smilies in Conclave. Sry.

You and I alone in a room (and perhaps a bottle of Añejo) would no doubt work this out without any animosity. All I have asked for is that Magisterium redefine majority reasonably. Not ask Conclave to do it. It’s bad form for a judiciary to legislate.

It’s asking too much to demand that Conclave reverse its precedent with no safety net. Please give us that net. The net is what rules with regard to majority Magisterium has agreed to live by. I have no doubt that the Arbiters will rule reasonably. Best case scenario: it’s considered within the democratic definition of majority and requires no ruling.

Last round Conclave deemed the packaged definition of majority (including unanimous consent) was inconsistent with Concordat. Please - let’s make it better.

Alright, how would the Conclave react to this proposal, then. We place this proceeding on hold while the amendments to procedure are made. If we can all agree it is satisfactory, then the ruling can be safely rescinded without any concern that one Magister is left locked in the Magisterium hall on a long weekend and suddenly votes to remove the delegate.

Is the definition of “majority” then an issue? I can’t see how going back to the normal practice is then a problem when we have a quorum requirement.

Sounds like a plan.

Arbiter Barb motions that Conclave adjourn this matter, to be resumed at the request of any Arbiter or interested party listed by Viceroy, or not should there be no such request.

I second the motion to adjourn.

All right, then.

if there are no objections in the next 24 hours, session will be adjourned.

The current session is adjourned until further notice.